May 20th, 2010
Flamenco is a passionate dance with it’s roots and influences in Moorish, Gypsy, Jewish, African and even South American culture. The dancers ad-lib each performance from their heart and soul to beautiful voices, Spanish guitars, and percussive hand clapping. It gets inside you and is deeply moving to watch and experience. If you are a woman, and you think like me, you want to experience that freedom and passion too–but most importantly–you want to wear one of those DRESSES!
If you are lucky enough to be one of the beautiful ladies of Sevilla you get the opportunity, once a year, to play the dress-up part in the week long La Feria de Abril. We were there a week before the start of this annual festival that attracts over a million visitors, so did not get to see and experience this full-blown event but the dresses, hair flowers and combs, and oversized earrings were on display in MANY store windows.
You could be pretty in pink…
…rock some serious polka dots with even more serious fringe…
…go basic in demure white…
…or choose from literally any color in the rainbow! Tell me ladies, how GOOD would YOU feel wearing one of these dresses?!
May 4th, 2010
After my recent post on Azulejos and my upcoming honeymoon trip to Portugal, I heard on THIS BLOG from a lovely lady from Lisbon, who also happens to work as a decorative painter there. Ana suggested that we go to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, which we DID promptly upon our arrival in Lisbon from Newark.
She also kindly offered that if we wanted more advice to please ask.
Just before leaving on the trip I received a very thoughtful and detailed list of suggestions and an additional offer to meet for coffee.
And so we did, surrounded by beautiful azulejos tile dados at the famous Pasteis de Belem, home of the most delicious pastries in the world. Seriously! I don’t generally even like sweets and I gobbled down two of these mouth-watering custard confections right out of the oven. Mmmmm, even their cafe con leche was the best in town.
If you don’t want to sit you can stand in line for the take away counter service!
It is easy to find! Just look to the right of the amazing Manueline inspired Mosteiro do Jeronimos, where the secret recipe for the pastries is said to have originated.
Also in the neighborhood, down along the Rio Tejo, is the Torre de Belem….
a World Heritage site that is often pictured as a symbol for Portugal,….
as well as a glorious monument to the “discoveries”. On this side of the Atlantic we refer to these people a conquerors, but the truth is that Portugal at one point led the world in navigation and exploration back when it was thought to be flat.
We met up with Ana again on our last night in Lisbon at A Ginjinha, where locals begin their evening out with a shot of this brandy-fortified sweet liquor! It made our trip so much more special getting to know Ana, enjoying the city under some of her guidance, and benefiting from her local knowledge and perspective.
Cheers Ana, and obrigada!! We hope to see you again very soon!
April 29th, 2010
When most Americans think of traveling to Southern Europe the countries that first come to mind seem to be France, Italy, and Spain. I had bought some quidebooks and done some web research, of course, but we were not really sure what to expect from tiny Portugal when we went there. What a wonderful surprise to find that it is an amazingly beautiful and diverse country, easily traveled and totally “tourist friendly”! The weather and topography are very similar to our own Southern California, it is very easy to travel around by car, an amazing value (your Euros will go much farther in Portugal than elsewhere), and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful; most speak English very well. This last item is important as Portuguese is a VERY difficult language to master, even for the Portuguese according to my new friend Ana in Lisboa! I HIGHLY recommend that anyone add Portugal to their wish list for their next trip abroad. Here is a quick overview of this warm country from a color perspective.
Looking from the hilltop Castello over the red roofs of Lisbon
Confection colored facades in Belem.
Orange life preservers on boat ride on the Douro in Porto.
Blue sky over Porto.
Shiny silver fishat the old market in Porto. (Oh, they DO love their fish!)
Green doors in Pinhao.
Blue azulejos tile mural at the train station in Pinhao.
Lush green woods on a hike in Sintra.
Looking back at one of the fairy tale palaces in Sintra. Those two large cones are actually the chimenies for the wood burning stoves in the massive kitchen!
More to come! Still wading through 100′s of photos and lovely memories…..